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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I looked at the Karma earlier this year, and last week my 911 was stolen out of my driveway (nice '97 convertible) - anyone an ex 911 driver who can say what they think of the Karma in comparison - it's huge, that's for sure, about the same size (and a bit heavier) than the car in my avatar. But, sitting on the freeway in traffic ....
 

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There is a poster here on the forum whose screen name is 'rex'. When he got his Karma, he wrote that he was going to trade in his 911 because he liked the Karma so much. You might want to drop him a private message.
 

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William, I am a bit biased, but am happy to give you a couple notes of comparison. I have owned several 911s, from mid-80s through the 996. I have a Karma now as well as two Porsches and several other sports cars. First off, the two cars will scratch very different itches for you. The Karma is not intended to perform like a Carrera. Every Karma driver on this forum will tell you, however, that it is a driving experience unlike any other...a very fun car to drive, addicting in its smooth delivery of linear power, a very flat ride in corners, and an ability to cruise the freeways and backroads with equal smooth power and fun factor. Compared to your 1997 996 Carrera, it will have less of a feeling of initial acceleration, and will have less ability to stomp on it and pass at freeway speeds (only one gear, so no feeling of "drop down and mash it"). That said, the Karma is ridiculously fun to drive in so many ways. It is quiet yet powerful, fun to get on a freeway onramp, brakes very well, even against a 996 Carrera (considering its size). Having driven many Porsches, I never tire of them - they are a joy to drive every time I get in one. The Karma is the same thing. On top of that, it is so very unusual to most people that it generates lots of buzz for you, so you shouldn't be a shy guy with a Karma. In certain parts of the U.S. where a 911 is a common car, the Karma literally stops people in their tracks. I also love the interior of the Karma, it has a spartan luxury and sportiness with no feeling of frivolity, which is what I have always liked about the 911 interiors - everything has its purpose. Last note: the car is likely to have a few software bugs, just as all my cars have had (BMW, Porsche , Aston, etc). The latest Karmas seem to have most of this worked out, but even if that isn't so, the Fisker dealers have become very good at fixing most anything you have issues with - so be sure your dealer isn't too far away.
Here's a short video with my Karma happily sharing the garage with my 2007 Cayman S and my 1986 Turbo Carrera. The Karma is the first car near the front garage exit for a reason: I love to drive it...
A Walk Around The Garage
 

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Thanks for taking time to write they above. A good analysis and well written.


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Should be "the" above....not they. Did not know I had a typo!


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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I thought I would follow up. Today, I took my wife and daughter to the Fisker dealer and we drove the Karma some more - sadly, this particular dealer is only authorized to have three specific test routes, so I couldn't drive on a freeway (the route with a freeway was badly congested, and they said I couldn't turn the other way and see how it felt). both my wife and daughter were quite negative about the car - they didn't like the back seats, they felt it felt "squirrely" (it did, in the back seat), and they felt ingress particularly to the back was very restricted for such a large car. They also felt boxed in by the battery tunnel.

Remember, in this comparison that in addition to my now missing 911, my daughter has a 944, my wife has a suburban, and there is the cadillac in my avatar (and a few other cars).

So, the next stop was the porsche dealer, where I drove the 6 cyl and the hybrid Panamera - the difference is quite distinct - mileage ratings are similar, though the panamera doesn't have an all electric mode - I found it much more comfortable to drive - probably because I've driven predominantly Porsche cars for 40 years, but it did specifically have a much better road feel and dramatically better finishing - for example I didn't have to slam the doors to make them latch properly. I then drove a '10 911 - which of course felt like ..... a 911, what can you say.

I think at this time I've ruled out the Fisker as "not right for me", but I have not decided what is right. If the Fisker were of the same high quality interior but about 2500 pounds lighter in feel, I think I would be in love. I was not put off by bugs, but by things inherent in the design like the shape of the doors and stuff like that. The roof is also much lower to the passenger's head than in the 911 or the Panamera - I didn't take measurements to see why, but it was noted by both wife and daughter as a negative for the Fisker. I'm actually sad about this decision, because I'd really wanted to like it - I love the concept, I like the way it works, but....

One other off putting thing is the difference in the methods for sale - at Fisker, you come in, they need to photocopy your driver's license, they need cash up front to sell you the car (at least the down payment) and so on - it's like buying a chevy. When I went to Porsche (and this was the same experience as when I bought my prior two porsche cars from a dealer), there was no copying of the license, and to buy, just sign the paper, drive it home and take the invoice to the bank and the bank sends porsche a check - dramatically less work. this very different prospective buyer experience matters too, though it is NOT the reason I decided to pass on Fisker for now.

I'll follow this thread for a while, it's interesting, and I'd love to see Fisker really succeed.
 

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Oh well, to each his own.... enjoy the Panamera!

But I do take exception to a few things in your latest post

1) Yes, the Porsche Panamera has more head room. But that it is why it looks like a Pregnant Humpback whale. I'm a Porschephile and believe while the Panamera is wonderful to drive and stunningly engineered, it is just unattractive (sorry, one man's opinion). But if you would rather have headroom, its the car to have. For that matter, a better choice would be a BMW M5, an Audi S7, or an AMG SL65. BTW, the Fisker's headroom and legroom are a far sight better than other cars like the Aston Rapide. Panamera wins this category by compromising the exterior style.

2) You said the "mileage ratings are similar", but you recognize there is no all-electric mode for the Panamera. This is not a subtle difference. I have only stopped for gas twice in my Fisker in 9 months. I have used about 20 gallons in 4000 miles. If I use 15-20 cent electricity per kwh to "fill up" my car every 45 miles (16 kwh to charge the depleted battery), my cost per 100 miles is between $5 and $7. At 35 MPG, buying 3 gallons per 100 miles for the Panamera is about $12-$13. So my cost per mile is less than half the Panamera's cost. And in fact its cheaper because I have solar panels on my house and my cost per mile is much cheaper. So, don't let the EPA ratings fool you, they ignore the all-electric mode and the relatively cheaper cost of electricity. My Karma "cost equivalent" mileage is effectively double or triple the Panamera's.

3) And as for the buying experience, I buy many cars, and I don't finance them, but even though paying cash I am still always required to provide a driver's license and proof of insurance to drive off with the car. Are you telling me you can walk into a Porsche Dealer and drive off with a car and never show an ID? I'm pretty surprised by that. It may be true, but I hope the high-end car theft rings don't figure that one out ;-)

4) My kids like the back seat of the Karma. They say it feels like a private jet. The center console certainly makes it less roomy than your wife's Suburban (but then again, everything is smaller than a Suburban!!).
 

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william_b_noble said:
If the Fisker were of the same high quality interior but about 2500 pounds lighter in feel, I think I would be in love.
And if pigs could fly...

At 5300 lbs., the Karma weighs 1000 lbs. more than the Panamera Hybrid, not 2500. If you are looking for a 2800 lb. car (5300-2500), I don't believe you are in the market for an electric car, a hybrid, or a 4 door sedan. The Tesla Model S with the 300 mile battery weighs in at 4600 lbs.

So you probably need to stick with a 911, or buy a McLaren. Even with its carbon fiber chassis, it has a porky 3200 lb. curb weight. :rolleyes:
 

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The 911 is a good looking car although it has become a little common. The Panamera on the other hand is a design nightmare.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
let's see - "2500 pounds" - I wasn't saying that the Karma was 2500 pounds heavier than the panamera, you are right, it's 1000 pounds heavier - and you can feel that weight - it is both good and bad. What I was trying to say was that I would like a 2500 to 3000 pound car that had similar hybrid capabilities. Right now, I'm driving the 944 I gave to my brother when I bought the 911 - I really like the size of the 944, I always felt the 911 was a bit big - but that poor 944 has well over 250,000 miles and it shows it (my brother didn't understand about things like fixing dents or not hitting things, and at 1/4 million miles, the suspension needs some attention).

As for looks, the fisker does have an interesing look, but I've noticed that when you are inside the car you don't really notice the outside - well, one exception is my cadillac (avatar) which allows me to see the tail lights in the rear view mirror - but nobody in their right mind would drive that as a commuter (and, by the way, if I want attention, that car gets more attention than any exotic in current production if I drive through places where $$$ cars abound).

The fisker is very cool. I'd like it a foot narrower and 2 feet shorter, at least. It is interesting (in a sad way) that there is no real classy car that is small - for some reason we still think that luxury and comfort only belong in big cars.

You are right that electricity is better than gas from an economy point of view, though the cost savings wouldn't justify buying a Karma - you buy a car like the Karma (or any Porsche) because you want the car, not to save money. I would love to see a plug in Panamera. But also, (as I learned by reading here), the Fisker is a bit silly in the way it handles the engine (ICE)- if you run the battery low, then the ICE runs to propel the car, but it doesn't charge the battery. I asked at the dealership about this, they were a bit curt in replying that there would be no attempt to fix that. It seems to me that on a long drive you might as well (at least have the option) to let the ICE charge the battery too - it is actually more efficient to run the ICE at optimal throttle and charge the battery and then shut it off. The lack of that feature was one of the tecnical negatives (not a deciding one though) about the car.

I did like the way the Karma selects drive modes, with the pyramid thingie. I didn't like the wasted space to "see" the top of the battery - that is useless - at least make it a storage space for "stuff" like glasses, or whatever.

anyway, I certainly liked it a lot better than the large US made cars I've tried
 

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william_b_noble said:
As for looks, the fisker does have an interesing look, but I've noticed that when you are inside the car you don't really notice the outside - well, one exception is my cadillac (avatar) which allows me to see the tail lights in the rear view mirror - but nobody in their right mind would drive that as a commuter (and, by the way, if I want attention, that car gets more attention than any exotic in current production if I drive through places where $$$ cars abound).

The fisker is very cool. I'd like it a foot narrower and 2 feet shorter, at least. It is interesting (in a sad way) that there is no real classy car that is small - for some reason we still think that luxury and comfort only belong in big cars.



I did like the way the Karma selects drive modes, with the pyramid thingie. I didn't like the wasted space to "see" the top of the battery - that is useless - at least make it a storage space for "stuff" like glasses, or whatever.

anyway, I certainly liked it a lot better than the large US made cars I've tried
I guess you don't notice the vet humps and the cool look of the curves from the rear view?

If you want smaller, then you should consider waiting for the Atlantic. I compare the karma to the telsa roadster - first out of the gate. The Atlantic, like the model s should address some of your taste you described.

Yeah I think there are improvement that could be made with some items, and those folks who byte second will get the Improvements we early adopters had the pleasure of experienceing firsthand. Good or bad, early adopters get the pleasure (or pain) from being first.
 

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So I Split the difference

I love driving my Karma and use no gas at all on my 40 mile daily commute giving me "infinity" mpg. My wife's Phaeton began acting up and were in search of eco-friendlier vehicle that could fit my boogie board and my 91 year old mother...

Mercedes 400 S Hybrid....trunk too small for Boogie for Board...drove like a tank...

Drove a white Panamera S Hybrid....nimble, great road feel, seat folds down to fit Boogie Board in hatchback...mother fit's in front seat, walker in the back...

So my garage now has a silver Karma and White Panamera S Hybrid....saving the planet one awesome vehicle at a time.

Buck
 

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william_b_noble said:
But also, (as I learned by reading here), the Fisker is a bit silly in the way it handles the engine (ICE)- if you run the battery low, then the ICE runs to propel the car, but it doesn't charge the battery. I asked at the dealership about this, they were a bit curt in replying that there would be no attempt to fix that. It seems to me that on a long drive you might as well (at least have the option) to let the ICE charge the battery too - it is actually more efficient to run the ICE at optimal throttle and charge the battery and then shut it off. The lack of that feature was one of the tecnical negatives (not a deciding one though) about the car.
Apologies but I again take exception to your comment above, which seems to be based on what appears to be very little knowledge of hybrid engine systems. The ICE does not charge the battery on PURPOSE, that isn't something that needs to be "fixed". It would be ridiculously inefficient to use the ICE to recharge the battery to then run that back through the electric motors. An ICE runs at a very low energy efficiency rate due to heat loss, etc. The Karma is designed to run just enough juice into the battery at the same rate it is discharging, keeping the battery at a stable charge point. Your combined MPG, as well as your ICE-only MPG, would be significantly less if you were using the inefficient ICE to recharge the battery at a rate any more than exactly what is needed to run the car. The system is exactly as it should be and it is unfortunate that the dealership may not have been able to explain that to you.

So, in your scenario, you would like to arrive at your destination with a fully charged battery? The good news is that if you put the Karma in Sport Mode, it will in fact run the ICE at a rate that will retain more battery range when you arrive, in fact it keeps your battery range at around 26-28 miles instead of running it down to zero. Many Karma drivers have figured this out and it allows them to retain some battery level for the other end of their trip, just as your scenario desired.

So, yet another reason you should buy the Karma. Yet I sense now you never really wanted one, you just wanted to convince yourself why you should stick with the Porsche. Indeed, if you are happy with your Cadillac, then even better. The most efficient car in the world is the one you DON"T buy...save resources by keeping the old one running as long as possible.
 

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I moved from a 911 Turbo to the Fisker, and after having the Fisker for a month, I decided I loved the Fisker enough to part with the 911. Dave does a great job describing the differences.

Why did I switch from Porsche to Fisker? For me and my family, everyone likes the Fisker better. My twin 10 year old boys fit better in the back seat than in the Porsche -- and the battery pack down the middle is very similar to the transaxle of the 911, except they get bonus cup holders, seat warmers, and a USB outlet + cigarette lighter style outlet... great for charging their electronics. My wife enjoys the peace and quiet of stealth mode. She loves the amazing gas millage, and that we are setting a good example for our kids in making good environmental choices.


I've now owned the Fisker for a little over 3 months, and have only been to the gas station once, recently, where I added 8 gallons for 1632 miles (200 MPG -- more than 10x what I got in the Porsche). I feel really good that most days I generate zero emissions (okay, electricity generation produces some, but in Nor Cal, it is equivalent to getting 79mpg according to a recent car & driver article citing UCS stats -- July issue, pg 28). It is great to drive a car I really enjoy that also reflects responsible choices. I do miss the acceleration a bit -- but with immediate torque available in electric, I am okay with the zero to 60. All and all, the Fisker is a very satisfying experience.

 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
about the engine charging the battery.... most ICE, and I have no reason to believe the engine carred in the Fisker is different, can be tuned to run very efficiently at one power level, but are much less efficient across the whole RPM range needed to propel a car - that is one reason why fixed plant generators are more efficient (when running at same power levels and on same fuel). I am NOT proposing that the ICE run to fully charge the battery, but that when the battery reaches the low charge level that causes the ICE to start up, that it run at its most efficient torque/RPM point for a period of time, even if that is in excess of what the current driving activity requires, and continue until the battery is some amount (say 10%) of charge above the ICE trigger threshold. Then shut off. That should lead to more efficient overall operation unless it happens to start when you are nearly at home.
 

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william_b_noble said:
about the engine charging the battery.... most ICE, and I have no reason to believe the engine carred in the Fisker is different, can be tuned to run very efficiently at one power level, but are much less efficient across the whole RPM range needed to propel a car - that is one reason why fixed plant generators are more efficient (when running at same power levels and on same fuel). I am NOT proposing that the ICE run to fully charge the battery, but that when the battery reaches the low charge level that causes the ICE to start up, that it run at its most efficient torque/RPM point for a period of time, even if that is in excess of what the current driving activity requires, and continue until the battery is some amount (say 10%) of charge above the ICE trigger threshold. Then shut off. That should lead to more efficient overall operation unless it happens to start when you are nearly at home.
I think that's what drives most of us to want that 'recharge on the fly' option that we saw during the roadshow. If the optimal level for the ICE in the Karma generates, say , 150 hp (~120kw), but the car is cruising on the highway and only needs 70hp, the ICE should use that extra juice at its peak efficiency to charge the battery rather than rev lower to generate only 70hp at a lower efficiency.
 

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SoCalGuy said:
william_b_noble said:
about the engine charging the battery.... most ICE, and I have no reason to believe the engine carred in the Fisker is different, can be tuned to run very efficiently at one power level, but are much less efficient across the whole RPM range needed to propel a car - that is one reason why fixed plant generators are more efficient (when running at same power levels and on same fuel). I am NOT proposing that the ICE run to fully charge the battery, but that when the battery reaches the low charge level that causes the ICE to start up, that it run at its most efficient torque/RPM point for a period of time, even if that is in excess of what the current driving activity requires, and continue until the battery is some amount (say 10%) of charge above the ICE trigger threshold. Then shut off. That should lead to more efficient overall operation unless it happens to start when you are nearly at home.
I think that's what drives most of us to want that 'recharge on the fly' option that we saw during the roadshow. If the optimal level for the ICE in the Karma generates, say , 150 hp (~120kw), but the car is cruising on the highway and only needs 70hp, the ICE should use that extra juice at its peak efficiency to charge the battery rather than rev lower to generate only 70hp at a lower efficiency.
Some of us, myself included, do this by switching to Sport mode for part of the trip when we know that the destination is beyond the Stealth electric range of the car. It would be nice to have the car figure this out on its own and handle the ICE operation. It could even be integrated with the Nav system to create the most efficient profile based on the selected route and operate the ICE automatically during the journey.
 

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I have 997 T sitting in the garage right next to Karma and now it is not my first choice. Firstly, it is difficult to put kids in the back seat of 997 and they do not have lots of legroom. Secondly, driving in and out of Prague I found that on my 997 its turbo rarely kicks in, because of all speed limits. So I was driving my Porsche in fuel-saving mode, which is not so great if you have 3.6 liter engine. Fuel consumption was still at 11 liters per 100 km.

Perhaps if you live in the area where there are no speed limits and roads are great for driving, Porsche makes a lot of sense, appealing to your driving ability.

Fisker is a bit heavy, handling close to the limit tends to understeer, tires sound like they have enough in tight corners and when flooring the gas pedal, not much happens above 50 mph. Also, my main effort is to keep ICE quiet and not running, so Stealth mode is always on, until battery runs dry. Then I am dreading rest of the trip because of the sound of ICE, very distant from the sound of 997. Reminds me of a sound of single turbo-prop engine in small plane. I think that if you are 30 something, you should keep your 997 and if over 40, you should consider Karma.

One main issue remains to be answered - maybe by somebody else on this board. Which car is a bigger chick magnet? :cool:
 

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This also might be depending on chicks's ages.

Up to 30, they might love you to drive a Porsche, starting with 40, they love the big sports cars like Maserati, Ferrari or Fisker...
So the world seems to be organized very well ;-)


Stefan
 

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Stefan said:
This also might be depending on chicks's ages.

Up to 30, they might love you to drive a Porsche, starting with 40, they love the big sports cars like Maserati, Ferrari or Fisker...
So the world seems to be organized very well ;-)


Stefan
But gentlemen, not all of us are interested in chicks. Ahem.

(Where is the rainbow flag emoticon when you need it?!)
 
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